The Lead

Pa. to start citing unlicensed recovery houses this week

By: - June 5, 2022 6:30 am

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs visits Pennsylvania’s first licensed recovery house, stressing the importance of becoming licensed, in Tobyhanna, PA on June 2, 2022 (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

Starting June 9, the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs will have the authority to impose fines on unlicensed recovery houses in the commonwealth that receive public funding. 

The agency was granted that oversight through a 2017 state law, and licensing applications were made available through DDAP in December 2021. 

Before the law, there was no state entity overseeing the licensing of recovery houses in the commonwealth, DDAP officials said. The recovery houses are facilities that house “individuals recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, which provides those individuals with a safe and supportive drug and alcohol-free environment that may include peer support and other recovery support services,” according to state law. 

As of June 1, there were 32 fully licensed recovery houses across the commonwealth with 106 applications under review, the agency said. Another 144 recovery houses are actively undergoing the licensing process. 

In a statement last month, the department said the purpose of the licensure program “is to help empower sustained recovery for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) by ensuring a network of safe drug and alcohol recovery houses across the commonwealth.”

Department spokesperson Stephany Dugan said that “without recovery housing standards or protections, there are unknown numbers of substandard facilities who may be exploiting individuals at this vulnerable time in their recovery.”

Dugan added that “having licensure requirements and regulations are a significant step in ensuring safe, supportive housing for Pennsylvanians in recovery from substance use disorder.”

Under the law, recovery houses must obtain a license from DDAP if:

  1. They are receiving federal or state funding,
  2. They are receiving referrals from publicly-funded facilities, and/or
  3. They are receiving referrals for individuals whose substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is funded with federal or state funding.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.

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